Successful Self-Publishing starts with one thing: clear, measurable goals. The process of writing down your goals and reviewing them every morning will help you to achieve them faster than you ever thought possible. (If you haven’t read Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy, go do it!)
Written goals set you up for success. Achieving them is just a matter of breaking them down into smaller goals that you can accomplish each day. Goals have the additional benefit of keeping you on track when life gets busy with family commitments, work and school. Writing often falls to the bottom of the to-do list because we can “do it later.”
Writing down your goals and reviewing them every day keeps them in the front of your mind. No one else is going to prioritize your writing time. Writing is your business and by setting goals you are making it a priority in your life.
Another benefit of goal setting is that you’ll start to think of your writing as a business, which will be very important when you hit the Promotional part of this guide. Writing used to be something that I did on a recreational basis. Now writing is something that I do every single day, no matter what.
Having goals also keeps you excited about what you are doing. Every time you achieve a goal, excitement flows through you, motivating you to move on to that next step. The best thing that I ever did was plan my entire year of publishing out in a planner in ink.
When I first read an article recommending setting yearlong goals, I thought the author was nuts. But once I sat down with my list of book ideas and a calendar, it dawned on me that this was a pretty good idea. Now I know exactly what I need to do day by day, week by week and month by month to have multiple titles published by the end of the year.
Even if you are apprehensive, follow Buckminster Fuller’s example and treat your writing life as an experiment. See what you can do over the next year by investing some time right now into planning it out. Trick your inner critic by using colored pens and a fun and funky calendar or datebook to do this. I highly recommend writing this down versus using a digital calendar; there’s just something about the physical act of writing that affirms commitment in a way that the keyboard cannot.
Take a few minutes (right now) to think about why you are Self-Publishing. Use the Draw Your Blueprints page in your Workbook, and answer the questions on the page. Work quickly and don’t think too hard lest fear of failure hold you back. Dream big!
One of the strongest benefits in completing this task is that the process paints a big picture of what you hope to achieve. When I did this, I discovered my writing was about more than just publishing one book; it was about making a great passive income so that I would have more time to spend with my kids. Once I understood that, I was able to break my large goal down into smaller goals to make that step more reachable.
Now that you know why you are Self-Publishing, you can start to break down your main objective into smaller, manageable pieces. For this section, I’m going to use financial freedom as an example goal of Self-Publishing because it is such an attractive result.
There is no way to hit a target that you can’t see. If your goal is to make $30,000 a year from your writing, a little math will tell you that you need to sell 41 books a day at $2.99. Having this information in hand can help you on several levels of your publication planning, from price point to how many books you need to write to quit your day job.
Based on the example above, you know you need to write 4 books in the next year and that breaks down to 3 months per book. Because books go through various stages like outlining, 1st draft, editing, second draft, more editing, etc. You can layer your books so that you can write the outline for the next book while your current one is out for editing.
Goal setting allows you to maximize your time. Once you have your plan in place, you’ll notice that you become increasingly efficient and can get more done in less time. And just think, with every goal you meet, you are one step closer to quitting your job, taking your dream vacation or whatever goal you’ve set for yourself.
If you haven’t done so already, get out the Draw Your Blue Prints Worksheet and answer the questions. Once you’ve done that, select three goals for the next year. Break each goal down into manageable steps that you can chip away at one day at time.
Goal: Write a book.
1. Read a book on writing fiction.
2. Write an outline for my book.
3. Write 500 words a day.
4. Join a message board for authors.
5. And so on…
Once you have your steps, you can start writing them down in your planner. Don’t be tempted to keep your goals in your head. Just write them down, if you miss a goal you can always reschedule it. You’ll get better at estimating the length of time it takes you to do things with experience, so just be patient and remember that slow and steady wins the race.
Goals are just dreams until you write them down. Once you take steps toward achieving them, they become reality. One of my favorite quotes is “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.” I keep this right over my computer for inspiration.
It’s common to be an ambitious goal setter in the beginning, but try to be realistic about your goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure by assigning yourself a goal of 2500 words a day when you’ve been writing 250. Begin where you are and then slowly raise the bar until you are where you want to be.
If you set a goal and don’t meet it, don’t beat yourself up. Reset the goal, and tweak it based on what caused you to miss it. You may have set it too high, or given yourself too tight of a timeline. Break the goal down further, if necessary, just be sure to evaluate what issues might have gotten in your way so that you are able to meet it on the next go-round.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish